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International Guest Lecturers

posted Jul 11, 2015, 7:41 PM by Ezra Lockhart   [ updated Jul 11, 2015, 8:11 PM ]
Various prominent scholars on the subject of disability guest lectured throughout my Master's degree. Course coordinators were based in Australia; however, they arranged for various international speakers to present. Overall, including course coordinators I was afforded the opportunity to study from twenty-one different lecturers. Seventeen of which were from the University of Sydney. However, two-thirds of my coursework featured international guest lecturers who experience a disability themselves. My cohort and I gained valuable exposure to a wide range of cultural and academic perspectives on the social construct of disability.
Emory University, Department of English

Professor Garland-Thomson delivered 'Eugenic World Building and the Problem of Disability' a public lecture and a workshop 'Critical Disability Studies: Implications, Prospects, Futures'. In her lecture she suggests that a eugenic understanding of disability as inherent biological inferiority leads only to addressing disability through systems of compensation and normalization and, when this fails, through systems of exclusion and elimination. She argues, instead, that the traits and ways of being in the world we think of as disabilities must be understood as the natural variations, abilities, and limitations inherent in human embodiment. When this happens, disability will be understood not as a problem to be eliminated but, rather, as a reality to be accommodated through a sustaining and sustainable environment designed to afford access for the range of human variations.

Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir, Ph.D., (Iceland)
Háskóla Íslands (University of Iceland), Centre for Disability Studies

Professor Sigurjónsdóttir delivered a five part series on supporting families headed by parents with developmental disability. She presented her study based on a program she developed to strengthen each family unit by encouraging members to share meals, stories and time together.

Tom Shakespeare, Ph.D., (United Kingdom)
University of East Anglia, Norwich Medical School

Professor Shakespeare presented in the initial core course: Critical Issues in Developmental Disability. He primarily spoke about ethical aspects of genetics and depictions of disability in arts and culture. We were exposed to many of his works on the topic of medical sociology and reconceptualizing disability.

Tom Shakespeare spent five years working at the World Health Organization in Geneva and has a research interest in disability and international development.

Université du Québec à Montréal

Dr. Aunos is a psychologist and expert witness in the field of intellectual disabilities. She is Director of the West Montreal Readaptation Centre, a rehabilitation centre for people with ID, ASD or PDD. She presented on the topic of parental involvement with child protection system. Her work greatly influenced my final paper for the Parenting with Developmental Disability course entitled Child discipline- and children's activities-based programs for families headed by parents with developmental disability: A recommendation of four programs in response to parent-surveyed perceived support needs.

University of South Australia, School of Engineering

Professor Smith from the school of engineering spoke to the concept of universal accommodations in hospital settings during Disability Theory, a core course. She presented ideas on how to design and engineer architectural feature in hospitals to create more accessibility for varying types of disability.

Alphacrucis College

Dean of Theology, Shane Clifton presented moral and ethical dilemmas in the long-term treatment of individuals with complex medical conditions and disability in our core course Disability Theory. His scholarship is highly influences by his personal experience with quadriplegia. His work, Happiness and Spinal-Cord Injury: A Journey through Traditions of Virtue to Positive Psychology, published in the Journal of Religion Disability and Health prompted many discussion.